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PM says money could be funnelled into public purse

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Tribune Staff Reporter

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

IF BAHAMIANS say “yes” to the legalisation of web shop gaming in the country, tax revenues ranging from $15 to $20 million a year could be funnelled into the public purse, Prime Minister Perry Christie announced yesterday.

photo

Prime Minister Perry Christie

In addition, web shop chiefs, Mr Christie said, could face up to $1 million in licensing fees coupled with a performance bond in a bid to award certification to a small number of licensees.

The Prime Minister made the statement in the House of Assembly shortly after announcing that Bahamians would turn out to the polls in one month to cast votes during the highly anticipated referendum.

Mr Christie said: “If licensed web shop gaming becomes a reality, it is anticipated that tax revenues would initially be at $15 to $20 million range per annum. 

“I wish to make it clear that in the event that the referendum question passes, it would be the policy of my government to limit web shop licenses to a small number. This would also help ensure that the regulatory infrastructure of the Gaming Board, which I confirm would be the regulator of the licensed web shops is up to the task of adequately monitoring and regulating web shop operations.”

Mr Christie said the revenue would be earmarked for use in helping to fund educational scholarships, athletic, sporting, music and art developments.

A range of private and public community, health, infrastructure, recreational, and social outreach facilities and programmes are to be funded as well.

To qualify for a web shop gaming license, applicants would have to meet specific criteria which include experience, integrity and expertise along with a suitable financial footing. Organisational and internal controls to operate in a responsible and transparent manner are also required, the Prime Minister said.

“This would be in addition to the annual taxes that would be payable, based on the revenues of the licensed web shops, similar to the taxation structure that applies to casinos.

“Web shops would also be required to contribute to the cost of implementing the new laws and regulations for web shops.”

The legalising of this type of gaming would then force owners to fund, at their own expense, programmes to help protect gamers from addiction and to help in the treatment and rehabilitation of such persons.

Instituting measures approved by the Gaming Board, to ensure that only persons of the legal age are allowed to use web shop facilities is also required.

Anti-money laundering standards also would be altered to ensure that the Bahamas remains effective in its monitoring regulations, Mr Christie said.

The government would ensure that gaming laws are enforced and that persons who break them are dealt with to the full extent of the law should Bahamians vote no, The Prime Minister said.

Comments

bahamian242 9 years, 9 months ago

What is a Web Shop? What is going to be legalized? What are we voting for? You can't play Chicago, Miami and New York anymore! They are are all copyrighted, and I thought The Bahamas signed on to comply with copyrights worldwide! You can't use other people's rights with out permission to gain reward. So what will this mean if the Web Shops are legalized. I am confused now! If we had are own then it would be alright, and we would have are own copyright! Please explain??? Something cannot be legalized to make it alright to steal the copyrights of lotteries in the USA or elsewhere!

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DMoe 9 years, 9 months ago

  1. Where else would the money go if not the public purse?
  2. As to the above, the government would now have to create its own lottery system where the Bahamas cash three and play four numbers are drawn once or twice a day seeing that MIA, CHI, NY, CALI and TRI STATE would all be illegal to use. Now you can only buy Bahamas numbers. Dear Bahamas Government, you are setting yourselves up for one BIG headache if the vote is yes. Somebody needs to think this thing through.
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John 9 years, 9 months ago

I don't support gambling, but because of how widespread it is in New Providence and Freeport, chances are great Bahamians will vote in favor of the web shops. Since the government will be getting $15 - $20 million of poor people's money in the public purse, some who are addicted to gamblig, HOW MUCH MILLIONS WILL THE WEB SHOPS BE RAKING IN..ANNUALLY? The problem government will really face is closing these gambling houses down if the refeundum is not passed...they already allowed the roots to become embedded in this society.

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C_MonMan 9 years, 9 months ago

How dissappointing Mr. PM. I understand that the Church is claiming that the Government met with the "Gambling men" and but did not consult with the church before proposing this opinion poll called a referendum. Was it not this same PLP government who claimed to have opposed the Ingraham referendum because of inadequate consultation with the Church and not enough time for proper societal discourse. Now on a matter with significant social implications, not only have the church not been consulted, but we are also being asked to vote with very short notice on a vague question, with vague guidelines, with no comment on the current and potential social costs but with a bold comment on the tax dollars that the government can earn. And what about the question of a national lottery where the potential government earnings could be five-fold if we are just to focus on the tax dollars. You must think people silly! Dissappointing and sad indeed!

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TalRussell 9 years, 9 months ago

PM Christie your flip-flop on the content of the referendum you promised on the legalization of the numbers rackets is now being turned into a mockery of the "trust," so many placed in "you," personally, not your elected MP's, on Decision Day 2012. 

In fact I am going to be the first Comrade anywhere in Bahamaland to rename you; PM "Vexing The Natives" Christie. 

Stop this nonsense now. You have too much to lose. Here we have the once powerful red shirts crawling on the political survival floor and you are handing them a new weapon that is not going to be so easy to stop. 

Again, I asked you PM. Are you accepting gambling licensing applications from applicants who were charged and convicted of operating an illegal numbers rackets business in Bahamaland? 

If so PM what examples are you setting to our youth to stay on the right side of the laws of Bahamaland? 

PM I is steaming vexed at you and I supported your return to power. Guess what. So are many others vexed who also trusted you to always do right by them.

PM Christie is this the "magic" Comrade Sidney spoke to our youth about this morning at the opening of the Sidney Poitier Bridge?

PM this is so damn FAR from your government's promised referendum on a National Lottery. It looks more like it's closer to some darkroom political payback to Comrades, you should have been arresting and not hand-picking for your government's hand-picked millionaires "Gold Rush" gambling licensing club?

PM Christie I say use the laws already on the police books and give them all a; "Go directly to Jail – do not pass Go, do not collect your gaming licenses, on the bus ride to Fox Hill.

http://tribune242.com/users/photos/20...">http://thetribune.media.clients.ellin..." alt="None">

by TalRussell

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jackbnimble 9 years, 9 months ago

I agree with T.Russell. Its amazing how this gambling issue has now been watered down to just a referendum on legalising the more established 'webshops' which appears to be a direct kickback or payback to the webshop owners who purportedly financially supported both parties in their election campaigns. And how ironic that its happending so close to xmas when most of us get bonuses and can afford to spend a few extra dollars and no doubt will be more inclined to visit a webshop should the amendment to the law be passed before then. I smell a rat on this one!

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TalRussell 9 years, 9 months ago

Comrade what you mean by web shop owners who "purportedly" financially supported both parties in their election campaign?

Believe me any fool know this aint no "purportedly" talk. The lawyer/fisherman says he "heard" some his red shirts candidates took numbers money for their campaigns and the other former law partner says he would "have" check? PM them don't be handing out no bank checks.Cash is their way of conducting the numbers business.

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jackbnimble 9 years, 9 months ago

Lol. Everyone may "know" but "knowing" and "hearing" (i.e. hearsay) don't hold up in a court of law.

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Bril 9 years, 9 months ago

I don't see what the big fuss is about with this. The government isn't forcing this on anyone thus the reason for the referendum. If you don't feel like its the right way to go then vote against it that's all. The Christian Council making a big deal out of this because they always feel they should have a say in government affairs. They have become too political. The fact is not every Bahamian should be subjected to what they see as Christianity. I'm a Christian but it doesn't mean that I believe exactly the same things as members of that council. Furthermore Christianity is about freedom to choose. The president of the council talks about his offense to the government meeting with the webshop owners. Well last I checked they were Bahamians as well. The PM and the government is not beholden to the Christian Council. Furthermore its insulting to me and many other Christians that the council doesn't think that we have the good sense to choose. I may very well vote no. But the fact that they are saying that the referendum is rushed shows me that they simply fear that it will pass. All you simply have to do is vote no and it will not pass. No big deal really. But it can never be said that it wasn't put before the people. The government is giving you a chance to choose. What more do they want?

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CuriousAbaconian 9 years, 9 months ago

The big fuss is very simple. It's not a matter of "choice." It's a matter of legality. We cannot legally "play numbers" of another country's lottery. If Bahamians are so hell bent on playing numbers, than Mr. Christie should have brought a referendum on a Bahamian National Lottery which would be transparent, and more importantly, BAHAMIAN. The money earned could be used to improve schools, infrastructure, etc. I love how the article suggests it "could" be funneled into the public purse. Where else would it go is correct? Furthermore, what message does this send to us as citizens? That if an illegal operation is tolerated long enough and not policed that we should just take a vote? Why not legalize drug dealing? That's pretty analogous to what I'm witnessing here. But we shouldn't be surprised....

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Bril 9 years, 9 months ago

That's exactly my point. Then vote against it. I agree it should be Bahamian and transparent. My thing is, that Bahamians just know how to talk and not act. Simply go to the polls and vote no. We have long been dancing around this idea of a lottery. There are several questions to be answered regarding its legalization and in the form if legalized it should take. So its a complex discussion Abaconian that involves both legality and choice. As a Bahamian I want to be able to choose whether I gamble or not. The question of legality and the implementation of a national lottery system is another matter. But like I said before all we have to do is vote no and force the government to structure it the way that we want it. That's if we want it. But I don't want the Christian Council to act as if it is a panacea of knowledge on the issue.

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Lanza 9 years, 9 months ago

Firstly from the beginning Kings/Government also seeks advice/council from the Christian leader when a decision needs to be made. When this was not done the people lost battles and were in bondage. Mr. Prime Minister a word to the wise is sufficient. Secondly this is unbelievable and ironic, we are being asked to vote to legalize an illegal business practice. It just keeps getting better in the Bahamas. If we can’t enforce the present laws how will we do it for the new ones? By the way what exactly are we being ask to vote for? How will the government get the money? What steps/procedures will be in place to make sure the money is used for the intended purpose? Who will monitor/police the “gambling shop”? Both governments have a proven record of not being able or willing to do it. All I am hearing from the government is the positive that could come but what about the negative that would come Mr. PM. We hear questions like what will happen to the persons employed by these web shops; nothing should happen to them once the business they are doing is what they have been licenses to do. It is sad and unfortunate but if their boss is breaking the law the business should be close down. There are other illegal businesses that employ people should we legalize them also? If the government wants to go ahead with this referendum I suggest we enforce the present law, close the so called web shops and then have the referendum.

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TalRussell 9 years, 9 months ago

Comrades talk about political intrigue brewing.

I wouldn't want wish it upon the shoulders of even my harshest red shirts critic, to be the PLP that PM Christie selects to drive over to the main numbers Kingpin's house, to inform him that "now" that the natives have voted NOT to legalize your web shops, he go'in have send the policeman's to shut your web shops down? 

Even the late Clarence Bain's; Great God, what Is this bad news PM is be sending to my house, is nothing compared to what we all know will be unleashed, failure to deliver. And, he thinks he former law/partner was mean to him?

Comrade messenger boy, you stop shaking and go tell that PM of yours, if he think he's a "Vexed" Christie now, well I got's serious news him. Tell him in all he political life he ain't never experience what real "Vexed'" looks like, that's about come his way? Him say what. That he go'in send the policeman's to close down my what?

http://tribune242.com/users/photos/20...">http://thetribune.media.clients.ellin..." alt="None">

by TalRussell

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242 9 years, 9 months ago

The PM got 4 main goals. 1 Get BTC in his full control 2. Legalize Numbers 3. Drill For Oil 4. Retire with Pockets Fat

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Stameko 9 years, 9 months ago

  1. comments

  2. Clearly numbers houses are already under reporting their take

  3. Clearly the proposed tax is peanuts and the numbers houses will be making an absolute fortune

  4. Where is the national benefits of a national lottery where most proceeds avoid the treasury and go straight into community causes

  5. So if the answer is no, I assume that means numbers houses are illegal and should be shut down?

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bookiedread 9 years, 9 months ago

My question to the PM is why put gambling to a referendum when it is very clear that he wants it to succeed. If it is for the people to decide then he should not just state the good but also the bad. But I fee the Bahamian people will do the right thing and vote NO. Righteousness still exalts a nation and sin is a reproach to any people.

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